The chimpanzees, and particularly the boss lady, started the day out a little tense and have pretty much stuck to that theme all day. There have been a lot of minor arguments and screaming, tension at meals, all stuff that is normal at times in the realm of chimp society. And if even one person is feeling tense, it affects the entire group. Who really knows what the cause is today other than the chimps. There has been a lot of excitement and new happenings in the last week, perhaps an argument between them last night, getting used to the sudden warmer weather, or maybe just waking up on the wrong side of the nest like we all do sometimes. At any rate, a breakfast forage in the cool morning air with time to explore the hill together, and apart, seemed like a good way to start the day.
We’ve been writing all this special week of celebration about a new side of Negra we’ve been seeing. And today’s been no different. With what seemed like an extra purpose in her step, Negra was the first to lead everyone onto the hill this morning and she explored and rambled around on her own for quite some time:
Annie and Negra (background):
Jody chose ALL the watermelon then high-tailed it back to the greenhouse to relish it all while making her classic happy dinosaur (low moan) noises as only Jody can do:
Missy looking so little out there:
Jamie: “This is serious business.”
Foxie and France Dora were busy exploring up and down and hither and yon:
Even within a day of rest and relaxation after all the excitement of the week there have been things happening left and right! As the weather heated up this afternoon we decided to serve snow cones using the chimps’ shaved ice machine with a few frozen grapes and watermelon mixed in.
Then later in the day there was suddenly a huge ruckus with Annie screaming at the top of her lungs. We assumed a disagreement was happening when everyone broke out into alarm calls and we ran in to see a rather large (and harmless) snake, a beautiful yellow-bellied racer, in the playroom who was desperately trying to find his/her way back out the barn doors they had crawled under. The chimps will usually grab or hit smaller garter snakes, but I think due to the size of this one no one was willing to touch it (thankfully, for the snake). But that didn’t stop Jamie from toppling her kitchenette over onto them and throwing random items in attempt to squish the snake. The poor thing was doing their best to get the heck out of there, but couldn’t get traction on the slick floor! We humans were all quietly cheering the snake toward the door, holding our breath (because these things don’t usually end well for the snake) when who but brave little Foxie (and without Dora!) finally took one big swipe and pushed the snake back outside! Yeah, Foxie! Kelsi and I ran outside just in time to see the snake racing off through the fence, unscathed and probably trying to figure out what the heck just happened.
As I write this, all the chimps are settling down into their night nests after a wonderful dinner forage of fresh summer veggies and a favorite evening food puzzle of grab bags. These bags are filled with a variety of enrichment and toys and most importantly to the chimps, some kind of food. Tonight it was stacking containers that screw together filled with small amounts of peanut butter. To say Jamie adores these bags is an understatement. She typically runs around collecting as many as she can, tossing them over her should into a big pile that none of the other chimps would think to touch. As we said our goodnights she was literally surrounded by all her bags, happy as a clam.
Somewhere in all the happenings today I unfortunately lost a few extra photos from yesterdays party I was going to share. Who knows, maybe they will resurface. But! I did capture a priceless bonus photo from today! Often when Jamie builds a nest she likes to incorporate larger items to surround her, rather like a fort. Today she seemed to have had enough of everyone and went all out creating a wall to surround herself with from her kitchenette (notice the doors open to provide more cover) and the brilliant move of using the shopping basket to secretly peer through and watch our every move. All she needed was a moat. A little creepy, a lot brilliant! She is amazing. But we knew this.